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I have doubts about it too let's hope little ice age don't happen we truly need to get those barbecues going.

MP,

I don't know if you're aware of the great Stephen Fry, over in the US?

But I do know you get a million articles/books suggested to you every week.

Here is one more! Stephen Fry's contribution to the global warming debate (among other things). So, are we Getting Overheated?

Look at the peaks and valleys in the rest of that chart, and note that it only goes back to 1988. Yes, we may be in a valley, but we've also been told all along that the "greenhouse effect" would bring about extremes in weather, not just warming. Now take a look at this chart from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia:

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/

In fact the Hadley Center, from which the article you linked got its information has this to say about the one year cooling trend:

These cyclical influences can mask underlying warming trends with Prof. Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, saying: "The fact that 2008 is forecast to be cooler than any of the last seven years (and that 2007 did not break the record warmth set on 1998) does not mean that global warming has gone away. What matters is the underlying rate of warming - the period 2001-2007 with an average of 0.44 °C above the 1961-90 average was 0.21 °C warmer than corresponding values for the period 1991-2000." (see http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2008/pr20080103.html)

Sorry, but I'm not so skeptical that global warming is real, even with that one year cooling trend. I'd suggest reading this page:

Climate Change Myths - http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/myths/index.html

I don’t have time to worry about global warming it is the killer bees that came from Africa to South America then up through Mexico that worry me.

From the investigation I’ve done personally, I’m not as doubtful about a general warming trend as I am towards the conclusion that it’s primarily caused by human activities. In any case, drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are likely to be impossible without severe economic consequences in the West, and such measures would likely be negated by the continued economic development of China, India and other developing countries where coal rules.

Controlling the global climate is well beyond our current capabilities. Unless there is a revolutionary development in the creation of affordable, clean energy, I think the best course of action may be to emphasize adaptation to a warmer climate. I'm not suggesting we all put our heads in the sand - everyone can and should make an effort to lesson their individual impact. But sweeping government reforms are likely to be both ineffective and crippling economically. Resources could be directed towards adaptation to greater effect, as I see it.

Interesting to hear you say this, MP. And here I thought the only people who didn't believe in global warming were pro-capitalist Republicans. You wouldn't happen to be one of them, would you? Okay, and a few other people I've know have also been skeptical. I mostly agree with what the other people are posting that we have to look at trends and data over a lot of years before coming to conclusions. Hopefully, these articles offer some encouragement:

http://media.www.dailytexanonline.com/media/
storage/paper410/news/2006/07/26/StateLocal/
Texas.Vies.For.ZeroEmissions.Coal.Plant-2134292.shtml

and:

http://www.physorg.com/news114778878.html

Also, if everyone would become vegans, it would help even more than all of this, according to the UN.

I'm not sure if it was a rhetorical question, but yes, I'm a registered Republican.

As for being pro-capitalist - isn't everybody pro-capitalist now? I mean, what's the alternative? To be pro-socialist?

To misquote Winston Churchill, capitalism is the worst economic system there is, except for all the others.

My (layman's) opinion of global warming is that, to the extent that it has occurred, it's probably a result of cyclical fluctuations in solar output. I don't think that it's manmade or that it's likely to continue; solar output usually reverts to the mean after a while. In fact, this may already have happened - hence the sudden "cooling."

One less thing to worry about, people! C'mon, be happy!

:-)

I'm in the boat of that global warming is certainly real, but that some of it is caused by natural fluctuations in atmospheric temperature.

Man sure as hell isn't helping, though.

According to David Wilcock on the Divine Cosmos website (at first sight a bit weird, but the more you read it, the more fascinated you become!) the whole solar system is experiencing heating in preparation for the 2012 transcension. Proper scientific evidence is provided! http://www.divinecosmos.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=47&Itemid=30
There are a lot of pages on this website, and most are really interesting. One that will particularly interest Michael H is a critique of The Secret (called “The Deeper Secret”).
http://www.divinecosmos.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=312&Itemid=70

Well, I usually hate Republicans (and I always hate capitalism), but I think I'll make an exception this time ;) I just think it's a good idea for everyone to try their best to be as environmentally clean as they can. Given the scientists that support global warming, it's probably got at least some truth to it (even if it does turn out to be overblown). I hate to sound like Pascal, but if we all put in the effort and global warming turns out to be false, nothing bad happens. If no one puts an effort forward and global warming is true, then a lot of bad happens.

Why do you hate to sound like Pascal, Mark? The logic of that argument appears to be sound. I suppose the problem is money -but don't worry, there's plenty to spend on WMDs ;-[

Well, the original Pascal's Wager is a pretty goofy argument, and hence one you wouldn't want to sound like.

It's a bit better here but I think it'd be pretty bad to spend a lot of money on something that isn't there, as well.

The Steven Fry article I linked to has a section looking at Pascal's Wager in relation to global warming.

Doh! It's Stephen Fry, not Steven. I'm tired. ;-)

Stephen Fry is witty and clever like Oscar Wilde, but I wouldn't have said he was wise. For instance, he is a confirmed atheist (–ahem!). If we accept that climate change is real (and we now call it "climate change" not "global warming" because it can mean extremes of droughts or storms as Barbara says, not just heating), it will affect the poor areas of the globe first - the marginal areas, esp places like sub-Saharan Africa, where life is already tough.

I must say I am surprised at Michael P saying, "it's time to fire up the grill and burn some fossil fuels!". It seems to show a kind of redneck, Mad-Max, America-is-the-only-place-in-the-world" kind of attitude which I didn't expect to find on this blog. I suppose if you’re convinced man-made interference is baloney, a joke is in order, but I am personally not so convinced. I read James Lovelock's "Revenge of Gaia" a few months ago, and he is persuaded that climate change is caused by man-made emissions. It seems to me to be a bit potty to dismiss a man like James Lovelock (a genuine scientist and thinker, a hero to many of us) without a second thought. And I thought America suffered the virtual loss of New Orleans in an unusual freak storm–perhaps I imagined that?

Even if climate change is false -or if it’s true and beneficial- I wholeheartedly approve of Mark’s “I just think it's a good idea for everyone to try their best to be as environmentally clean as they can.” I’ve never liked the appalling stench of vehicle exhaust fumes or the noise of engines. I think all emissions should be coloured orange. Then we’d know how godawful they were and we’d hurry to start producing compressed air cars. Yes, the technology is here, America. You’re rich. You could be the world leader in something really good!
http://www.theaircar.com/acf/

I was quite amused by DB's link to an article about stubborn partisanship, particularly this bit:
“Notably absent were any increases in activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most associated with reasoning”
It wouldn’t actually apply to the leader of the Free World, who has an IQ of 75 and no noticeable pre-frontal cortex. But that doesn’t matter, because most of us here believe in the transmission theory!

Fossil fuels??? what the? never heard that saying before in Oz, obviously a Yank term ;-)

I agree with you Ross all emissions should be coloured, that way we can see how much poison is out there, I'm sure the majority of people would want change then, plus what the hell is it doing to my skin, it's the air we breath, don't know about you but what kind of world are we going to be leaving behind to the following generations? what will they think about "us" our ignorance, the selfish materialistic mindset, that turns a blind eye and lives in the moment whose focus is on wealth and not enviromental health and our future families, you know were all connected remember.

I believe the changes are coming even prophets in the bible predicted the earth heating up.

Woo-Hoo, Hope, we've got them Yanks whupped!!

Just proving your link about partisanship correct, DB. Only joking really! God Bless America!

The reason I'm skeptical about (man-made) global warming is the claims made by the proponents.

They'll tell you that it's not Global Warming, it's "Climate Change", and if anything unusual happens (warmer than usual, colder than usual, more rain, hurricanes, more droughts, floods, etc.) Then it's more proof they are right. In other words, the perfect hedge. That's not science, that's politics.

The "Consensus" argument. If you question "global warming" advocates, they seem to more often hit you with the 'consensus' argument rather than actually argue with your points. This is a logical fallacy known as 'the appeal to authority'

Kyoto- any objective analysis of this would have to conclude that it's useless, since the growing and exempt economies of India and China would make up for whatever CO2 emmissions are cut in the west. Yet the advocates will tell you it's the single most important thing we can do.

That's not to say that there is NO scientific data to support global warming, but the data isn't as certain and cut and dried as the advocates like to claim. To me it's about 10% real science and 90% politics.

That said, I am in favor of alternative energy, but it's because we can't rely on fossil fuels forever, not because of Global Warming. I'm hopeful that the spikes in energy prices push more adoption of them.

"As for being pro-capitalist - isn't everybody pro-capitalist now? I mean, what's the alternative? To be pro-socialist?"

I think a mix of socialism and capitalism, as we see in many European countries, is to prefer over the kind of free market thinking that permeates american politics. Compare for instance the welfare of the Scandinavian countries, where poverty practically doesn't exist because of the social safety nets, with that of the U.S., where large chunks of the population cannot even afford healthcare.

"As for being pro-capitalist - isn't everybody pro-capitalist now? I mean, what's the alternative? To be pro-socialist?"

I think a mix of market economy ond social economy, as we see in many European countries, is to prefer over the free market capitalist system of the U.S. Compare for instance the general welfare of the Scandinavian countries, where poverty practically doesn't exist because of the social safety nets, with that of the U.S., where large chunks of the population cannot even afford basic healthcare.

(Sorry about the double post.)

The Emory study linked by DB is fascinating; it lends support to how we tend to abandon reason in order to support preexisting belief. At the same time, the conclusions reached via rationalization of emotions seem perfectly reasonable to those experiencing the process. Climate change is an emotionally charged issue, and like all such examples there's a tendency to give credence to what we already believe to be true, while dismissing information that is contradictory.

I'm going to get dogmatic about thoughts, beliefs and psychology again. One of my favorite NDE accounts is the http://www.near-death.com/experiences/reincarnation04.html>Mellen-Benedict NDE, where he attempts to express the absolute perfection of all creation at every moment. He describes in detail how, from the perspective of the greater consciousness, he viewed things very differently:

”I went over to the other side with a lot of fears about toxic waste, nuclear missiles, the population explosion, the rainforest. I came back loving every single problem. I love nuclear waste. I love the mushroom cloud; this is the holiest mandala that we have manifested to date, as an archetype. It, more than any religion or philosophy on earth, brought us together all of a sudden, to a new level of consciousness.”

The problem with using a example from an NDE is that most readers assume that this level of consciousness can be achieved only through death. Yet, this message of the absolute perfection contained in every moment is repeated by the Self-realized throughout history and across all cultures and faiths. The consistency of these messages is contained in the idea that the perspective desired involves nothing more than a shift in consciousness. It’s not about the Rapture, an imminent ascension, 2012, or anything external to any of us. It’s about the given moment. Reality is an inside-out affair, yet it appears to be the opposite. The statement sounds like nonsense until one realizes what it means.

The solution to all the problems of the world isn’t in working on the problems, as strange as it sounds, it has to do with genuinely recognizing that we are seeing them as problems. If enough people truly understood this, and as strange as this sounds, the problems would just disappear. I’ve been reading Mitchell’s Tao te Ching translation again, and Chapter 67 says it better than I can:

I have just three things to teach;

Simplicity, patience, compassion.

These three are your greatest treasures.

Simple in actions and in thoughts,
You return to the source of being.

Patient with both friends and enemies
You accord with the way things are.

Compassionate toward yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world.

It’s very simple, but extraordinarily difficult. I freak myself out regularly by how I happen to be looking at something in any moment, and I get concerned with global warming and other environmental issues, historical atrocities, strained international relations, rampant crime in the streets and what I often perceive as a pervasive hopelessness that seems to run deep throughout humanity. I get so wrapped up in pointing out the role of thought to others that I lose sight of the role of thought within myself. It’s only in stopping and noticing what I’m doing to myself that I regain some perspective. Return to the source of being, accord with the way things are, exercise compassion towards yourself. It sounds so passive, yet contains endless potential. It’s the genuine secret.

Tony S. said: "The "Consensus" argument. If you question "global warming" advocates, they seem to more often hit you with the 'consensus' argument rather than actually argue with your points. This is a logical fallacy known as 'the appeal to authority'"

In general usage, that fallacy is only in operation if the authority has no expertise in the question (which in this case, they do). Who else but a climate scientist would you want rendering an opinion on this issue?

The strictest interpretation of that fallacy amounts to saying "anyone can be wrong". One would want to know how pressing that point is that advancing the debate when you are talking about experts speaking on the record about their area of expertise? We know that they _could_ be wrong -- after all, astronomers once thought the sun circled the earth. But we can have more or less confidence in them depending on the state of the science. At this point, as someone else has already said, why wouldn't you hedge that bet on the safe side?

That bit about the "hedge" is off too. It's a fact that global climate change is predicted to create local variations, so appeal to those variations does not invalidate the GCC hypothesis.

So you are left with the valid point that Kyoto does not do enough. I don't think that's a good reason to do nothing, and I'm glad to read that you see some benefits in alternative energy sources. I'll bet there's a bipartisan agreement that energy politics suxxors when someone else has control of your energy.

Just to note: I've been trying to access the original Daily Tech page since this morning and it has been returning a blank page for me all day. Did the author realize his mistake and pull the article?

Michael H: "The solution to all the problems of the world isn’t in working on the problems… it has to do with genuinely recognizing that we are seeing them as problems. If enough people truly understood this, and as strange as this sounds, the problems would just disappear."
Nice thought, but this begs the questions: Let’s use climate change as an example -
1. Would the problems disappear for us as individuals simply because we had stopped seeing them as problems (ie we now just love love the heat, or we are offered a job in Antarctica; others would still experience the problems because they still have the wrong outlook, and consider us to be “in denial”)
2. Would the problems disappear objectively from the world (so, for instance, a mini ice age would be created by our new found ‘positive outlook’ and compensate for the extra global gases to cancel them out);
3. Would our new positive attitude mean that we all collectively change our physical way of doing things (eg we all suddenly decide that air-cars are the obvious answer and wondered why on earth we didn’t think of that before).

I’d like to know which scenario is the most likely! Presumably (1) until enough people come onboard to materialise (2) or (3).

Michael H., what you say resonates somewhat with my own experience. But not completely. I had elements of the NDE experience (though I did not die, or go through a tunnel, etc.), the culmination of which was spending some time with what I guess we would call God, though I can only use my experience as any kind of proof of that (ie, it felt like what you would expect spending time with God to feel). What I took from that experience affects this particular debate in two ways.

First, I have no doubt that God will not judge what choices we make, even if they were to lead to the eventual destruction of humanity on earth. There is absolutely no judgment there, only love, compassion, joy. We're perfect to God as we are, whatever we do with what we are. And he is steadfast in this -- nothing will change it. I understand how God can love the mushroom cloud -- we made it! He loves us and everything we do.

But having seen some limited things from God's point of view, I find myself unable to think only of myself. I can't help but want to give to those in need (and I do). I can't help but want to point out how far short people fall of the ideals of compassion and altruism, because the example set by God is pretty clear. I think if you see it, you want to be it, or as close to it as you can be when being a fallible human.

I think the trouble is, nobody really sees it.

Now there's an irony in my own judgmental attitude, wishing others would be more like what I think God is like, but it's a double irony, because I know that God love's that I think that way! (Of course, he also loves the opposite thinkers, and anyone in between.) So, realizing that, I get to a point where I think _if_ it doesn't matter what you do because God is going to love you anyway -- why not do those things which are most like what you believed God would do? And I say this from having had the experience of the way God thinks (what little of it I was shown I guess is more accurate) -- so following that, perhaps one ought to be as giving and altruistic as possible, without giving up the individual self which is what God loves?

Tony S:
"They'll tell you that it's not Global Warming, it's "Climate Change", and if anything unusual happens (warmer than usual, colder than usual, more rain, hurricanes, more droughts, floods, etc.) Then it's more proof they are right. In other words, the perfect hedge. That's not science, that's politics."
Well, I don't know what they tell you, but where I am we're constantly being told last month/year was the warmest/wettest or driest since records began. Are they making it up? If not, it's science.

“As for being pro-capitalist - isn't everybody pro-capitalist now? I mean, what's the alternative? To be pro-socialist?”

Larry boy socialism! Are you kidding most Americans look under their beds every night for a socialist as their parents did for a commie.

The free market capitalist folks have done an outstanding job of making the term socialist mean communism.

And a euro is worth how much in dollars. 47 million without health care does not faze most Americans unless of course they are one of the 47 million or due to medical bills they are losing their home and filing bankruptcy. If I were to approach those folks before their illness for universal health care, which they would call socialized medicine, they would throw me out of their house but when it hits them different story. Did Jesus say anything about taking care of the sick and needy?

Insurance companies are allowed to cherry pick who to insure or put a waver on the policy what medical condition they will not cover due to preexisting conditions, which of course is what the person needed insurance for. The rest of the industrialized world looks in disbelief at our approach to medical care where they consider it a right and we consider it a privilege. And the French who we are always making fun of are ranked what in health care.

But then of course what good is free market and capitalism if you cannot make money even mega profits off the sick and needy.

As a side note and off topic I am sure Gorby the former Russian premier wanted to transform Russia into a socialist country like Germany not American style of capitalism but the Russians wanted pure capitalism very quick and we see how that worked. It created a lot of millionaires and a whole lot of have nots.

Now Russia is reverting back to who knows what as an economic system. It is not a good time to be a journalist in Russia that disagrees with the present government. They seem to die of mysterious causes.

Oh it is so easy to be a capitalist when things are going well in your life. To me it is a delicate balance between cradle to grave approach which communism tried and every person out for themselves.

whoops sorry that was me william.

DB-

"That bit about the "hedge" is off too. It's a fact that global climate change is predicted to create local variations, so appeal to those variations does not invalidate the GCC hypothesis."

What I'm referring to is after any weather arberation, whether it be a Hurricane Katrina, or whatever, there will always be a group of advocates saying "see? we told you". Usually their claims will be debunked by meteorologists who see some other normal weather trend at work. So these claims don't have firm backing in science, and their predictions of more severe hurricane cycles hasn't panned out. But that won't stop them from blamming global warming next time an unusual weather event occurs. That's what I mean by 'hedging'.

Obviously the people making these claims aren't real scientists, the pro-GW real scientists are more conservative in their proclamations. But that's why I say the Global Warming movement is more politics than science.

Also on the appeal to authority-- the wikipedia article on the subject gives scientific consensus as an example. Granted we know wikipedia is fallible, so I may be committing my own appeal to authority fallacy :D. But my basic point is, all too often I have seen GW skeptics present, long-detailed arguments about why GW is not man-made, and the pro-GW side often just presents the "consensus" argument rather than try to rebut the argument. It comes off as a way of trying to stop the debate.

Thanks, Ross W. I have to say, though, I wish you wouldn't say atheists are unwise, as I happen to be one. It is possible to be atheist and still believe in some sort of afterlife.

Apropos of my previous post, wondering in what manner our problems would actually disappear, I have now read the NDE link Michael H provided, and it gave me this answer:
"Population increase is getting very close to the optimal range of energy to cause a shift in consciousness. That shift in consciousness will change politics, money, energy."
Presumably, this could be interpreted as the Ascension shown on the Divine Cosmos website (2012 and all that). Or perhaps it just means we see our problems are getting really bad; so we wise up!

Mark. When you've read Michael H's NDE link, can you believe in what it says there: that God is us and is looking through our eyes? That's the sort of God we may be able to agree about...not the chap with the whie beard!

I'd also like to point out that a Socialist IS essentially what we think of as a Communist. True Communism has never existed as a national economy. It probably never could.

What is often called Socialism-- a Capitalist economy with large welfare state, is properly called 'Social Democracy'.

Social Democracy is quite different from real Socialism-- which features nationalized industry and the like.

DB, what you’ve written here resonates precisely with what I wrote earlier as I’m reading it. I think the only difference is that I tend to scrupulously avoid the use of the term “God”, because the term has been so corrupted. “God” as it’s used and intended by those who haven’t realized it conjures images of some sort of Deity external to creation, often with certain undesirable and all-too-human attributes. In reading what you’ve written about the unconditional nature of the source of creation, it’s obvious that you’ve realized that. Everything that I have written since showing up here reflects my own attempt to express the memory of an understanding achieved during a brief experience of a higher consciousness that I suspect was very similar to what you are describing.

I can especially relate with your commentary on judgment. I have really struggled with that issue over the years, and I’ve come to the conclusion is all I can do is attempt to stay in the moment myself and point to the psychological connection we all share with the source as consistently as I can.

As you’ve aptly expressed; "I think if you see it, you want to be it, or as close to it as you can be when being a fallible human. I think the trouble is, nobody really sees it."

While I don’t disagree with the suggestion that those who have genuinely realized the deeper reality do those things which are most like what they believe “God” would do (because that would always come from a standpoint of deep compassion and understanding), I also recognize that for those who haven’t had the direct realization, this approach can lead to airplanes flying into buildings and countless other horrors that have manifested over the centuries.

As you noted, relatively few have discovered their own connection. My understanding was, (and is), that many don’t realize it because they simply don’t understand how their individual consciousness relates to the greater consciousness. It is psychological in nature, and the key to realization has to do in recognizing the role of thought itself.

It all sounds so ridiculous from the standpoint of the intellect. All I can say to that is that if someone can see their intellect struggling with it, instead of being in their intellect and struggling with it, it may begin to make sense to them. And when they finally understand, they’ll discover it’s impossible to explain to anyone else themselves.

As far as how any of this relates to climate change or any other concerns, it always goes back to the role of thought itself. In an attempt to answer Ross’s earlier question, my best guess is that if there were a critical mass of people who became directly aware of their own connection with the source (not just believe they’re connected, but directly realized it), these problems would simply dissolve in the objective world. Again, that’s only my best guess. The thing is though, it can’t be brought about by waiting for other people to change, only by discovering the depth of the moment to whatever degree each of us can and then sharing what we discover with others.

To paraphrase MP, and to take another ‘best guess’, I suspect the essence of what we’d discover is that not only is climate change one less thing to worry about, there was never anything to worry about. We just thought there was.

>I’ve never liked the appalling stench of vehicle exhaust fumes or the noise of engines. I think all emissions should be coloured orange.

Global warming enthusiasts want to limit the output of carbon dioxide, which is odorless and an entirely natural part of the environment, essential for plant life.

>the whole solar system is experiencing heating in preparation for the 2012 transcension.

You're kidding, right?

>There hasn't been a year long cooling -- that same NASA/GIS site states plainly that 2007 was the 2nd warmest year on record.

But it cooled dramatically from the previous year, hence the year-long cooling.

>Oh it is so easy to be a capitalist when things are going well in your life.

From studies I've seen, the majority of people below the poverty line in the USA have air conditioning, at least one car, more than one TV, and other amenities that would be considered luxuries in much of the world. And the biggest health threat to the American poor is obesity. I don't think they worry too much about obesity in, say, Somalia.

Of course, in many ways capitalism is an awful system - exploitative, heartless, cruel, inefficient, unpredictable, etc. Upton Sinclair's famous muckraking novel The Jungle highlights these qualities (and led to much-needed reforms). Still, the alternative systems that mankind has so far managed to come up with are even worse. Ask the millions of kulaks who were starved to death by Stalin to speed up the collectivization of the farms (which led to decades of agricultural shortfalls).

I remember a line from Roman Polanksi's film Knife in the Water, made in Poland under Communism. Two men are arguing, and one insults the other as an elitist who lives an upper-class lifestyle, "with your car and your four-room apartment!"

A car and a four-room apartment are insignias of vast wealth? Well, they were in Communist Poland. And they still are today, in many parts of the world. But not the capitalist (or semi-capitalist) parts.

Don't worry, be happy. Less attitude, more gratitude. We were born into the most prosperous societies in the history of the world. We have the luxury of worrying about phony threats like "climate change" instead of the very real prospect of imminent starvation that plagued most of our ancestors. We are extraordinarily fortunate. Every day we should remind ourselves that there are hundreds of millions of people around the world who would literally give their right arms to trade places with us.

I have to say, though, I wish you wouldn't say atheists are unwise, as I happen to be one. It is possible to be atheist and still believe in some sort of afterlife.

For whatever it's worth Mark, and whether you choose to believe me or not, I see myself as closer to atheism than any religion.

Really strong points, MP.

I agree completely with the capitalism argument. It remains the best system yet created for the elevation of both the individual and society as a whole, and may someday be tempered by genuine compassion and balanced by real concern about environmental impact.

By the way, Knife in the Water is a good flick.

"Less attitude, more gratitude."
Yes, I like that Michael P. Haven't heard that before. I'll quote it to my sons.

Michael H., I love that quote from the Tao Te Ching. It's quite beautiful. I think our compassion needs to extend to other species as well as our own. If children are taught to love animals and wildlife they can't help but love the earth and lean toward environmentalism. If they're taught to love people they can't help but be compassionate toward their fellow humans as well. Simplicity and patience encourage frugality, which I see as necessary to help the environment as well. I think loving the earth and life is really the answer, rather than simply hating pollution, because the former is a positive way to go through life, and the two can't coexist.

DB wrote: "Well according to sources from _my_ ideological slant, it appears that the original writer made a mistake. There hasn't been a year long cooling -- that same NASA/GIS site states plainly that 2007 was the 2nd warmest year on record."

Good point, and don't forget that's the summer the northwest passage opened up, an unprecedented event in recorded history. Did the warming trend peak out in 2007? Well, maybe it did, but I'm not going to depend on that after more than a hundred years of warming.

I live in coastal Southern California, which has been in a drying trend for all my life, my mother's life, and her mother's life. In the occasional years that we have a normal or even record amount of rain, we're warned not to depend on that ending the drought, which seems in the past thirty years or so to be perpetual. In the past few years, the amount of rain considered normal has finally dropped, and still this year we received less than "normal". When I consider that, the global warming trend still looks like a global warming trend to me, and I can say that in my region I've witnessed a subtle climate change. In addition to less rain, my region's water shortage is added to greatly by population.

As for whether global warming is human caused, it seems to me that we are certainly helping it along. Just as my region's water shortage is affected by more than the climate change, so is our environment as a whole affected by more than just a warming trend, all resulting from one factor: the human population.

The human population has grown from 4 billion to nearly 7 billion in less than 40 years, with resulting increases in energy use, waste, pollution, factory farming, and housing. This must have some effect on the warming trend as well as other environmental problems. Every year we push more species onto the endangered or extinct lists. Even if we aren't causing global warming, obviously the number of people is having a drastic effect on the natural environment in other ways.

Is it really a partisan issue to worry about our world and its future? Is saying that we "can't" easily decrease oil use really an excuse? The US has spent $2 trillion on the Iraq War. What if that money had been put into the same kind of intensive intellectual and engineering effort as was put into the Manhattan Project, with the best minds possible, but this time with the constructive, compassionate goal of solving our energy problems? NOT to make someone money, mind you, but simply to help the entire world.

The environment isn't a partisan issue. It's a financial issue, an issue of, as Michael H. quoted, "simplicity, patience, compassion" over selfishness, greed, and convenience. Ask yourself who's making the most money off how we live now. When you follow the money, you see who benefits from maintaining the status quo -- oil companies and their investors and manufacturers who produce cheap, disposable but non-recyclable goods using mistreated workers without benefits, for starters. Who benefits from cleaning things up, long term? Everyone, for all future generations -- if we can convince ourselves that putting up with some inconvenience to get there is worth our trouble. If we have the attitude that to benefit we need to give up a little convenience, some junky items that clutter up our lives.

If there's one good thing that comes out of people thinking about global warming and asking whether we're speeding it up, perhaps it's that people will begin to realize that we can't keep proliferating indefinitely and expect the planet to support us, that fewer people is a positive thing.

Larry Boy wrote: "I think a mix of market economy ond social economy, as we see in many European countries, is to prefer over the free market capitalist system of the U.S. Compare for instance the general welfare of the Scandinavian countries, where poverty practically doesn't exist because of the social safety nets, with that of the U.S., where large chunks of the population cannot even afford basic healthcare."

The most interesting thing I see in Europe is that at the same time people have enjoyed those social benefits, including access to education (by the way, they've also put religious fundamentalism behind them), their population growth has slowed to negative numbers. You have to wonder, if the rest of the world would make that shift to a balance of capitalism and socialism, if we wouldn't all benefit, and if the planet wouldn't benefit as well. I also think stress causes overpopulation in people just as it does in nature. Ask a fruit farmer why a tree puts out an extreme profusion of blooms, he'll tell you the tree is probably under stress.

In most parts of the world where the population is still exploding, you find some combination of poverty, little access to medical care or education, deplorable working conditions, missing civil rights, and religious fundamentalism. We're also as a species extremely territorial, evidenced by our long history of invasion and war, one ethnic or religious group pushing out, enslaving or killing off another, and so forth. We seem to have an instinct to destroy what gets in our way. I think we have to embrace that fact, admit it to ourselves, and work to overcome it and find ways to live together compassionately and satisfy it at the same time. It seems to me that rampant capitalism just feeds into it. Going to war to "fix" other countries does too. Forced socialism represses it, and I doubt pure socialism has ever yet been achieved.

But there's a balance in there somewhere.

That balance might lead to the population decrease we need. I don't condone a government forcing people to restrict their child bearing as was done in China. But if a reduction in population can be achieved through a European model of social welfare and education, why not try that? It benefits every person, including every child, as well as the planet.

Finally, does it really matter if global warming is real, or even whether people cause it? People and our overpopulation cause plenty of problems. Solving them can only help reduce the possibility that we're causing global warming to speed up.

My apologies for the lengthy comment . . .

Micheal H. wrote: "It all sounds so ridiculous from the standpoint of the intellect. All I can say to that is that if someone can see their intellect struggling with it, instead of being in their intellect and struggling with it, it may begin to make sense to them."

Ah, I get you here. If people could get beyond the "little general" of the mind, the "me me me, here here here," then it'd be a different world. It looks like that's what Hinduism and Buddhism were set up to do, but I don't know how successful they were about it. The religion often gets in the way of the practical applications originally intended.

To Tony S. -- Ok, I see where you are coming from. My money will still be on the consensus view, since the ramifications are so dire if we get it wrong and don't do anything. I don't expect the scientists to have every "t" crossed and every "i" dotted.

Very nicely put, Barbara. The only point you omitted to comment on, I think, was whether you believe the channges required can be achieved without a fundamental shift in human consciousness. Perhaps that is implied by your "what if the money wasn't spent on Iraq": how else, except by a major shift, would our governments be able to appreciate that there is something more important than the manufactured "war against terror".

“But there's a balance in there somewhere.”

Communism and pure capitalism will self-destruct as communism has already self destructed with capitalism right on its heels.

People are not perfect so economic systems will not be perfect but balance must be found between the two extremes.

“Perhaps that is implied by your "what if the money wasn't spent on Iraq": how else, except by a major shift, would our governments be able to appreciate that there is something more important than the manufactured "war against terror".

There are some major corporate profits to be made in that manufactured war on terror in Iraq. Ike warned us what would happen if we did not reduce our industrial military complex but no one listened to him.

Michael P. said (quoting me):

">(me) There hasn't been a year long cooling -- that same NASA/GIS site states plainly that 2007 was the 2nd warmest year on record.

(Michael) But it cooled dramatically from the previous year, hence the year-long cooling. "

No, it didn't. 2005 was the record year, and 2007 was the 2nd warmest. 2007 was not cooler than 2006.

Here is a quote of the first paragraph from the "Global Temperature Trends: 2007 Summation" at:

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2007/

"The year 2007 tied for second warmest in the period of instrumental data, behind the record warmth of 2005, in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis. 2007 tied 1998, which had leapt a remarkable 0.2°C above the prior record with the help of the "El Niño of the century". The unusual warmth in 2007 is noteworthy because it occurs at a time when solar irradiance is at a minimum and the equatorial Pacific Ocean is in the cool phase of its natural El Niño-La Niña cycle."

I think it's possible that you are arguing without sufficient review of the actual facts -- accepting the authority of the original link, maybe, against the subsequent evidence that the writer was in error, because it fits your ideological bias -- which is pretty much what I was warning about with that link the Emory study.. Don't fall for it, Michael! Read the Emory study, and then take a look at what the evidence is concerning the "cooling trend of 2007". Then prepare to become very suspicious of anything you think when it comes to ideology. We appear to be fighting our animal natures here -- maybe there was some evolutionary benefit to always siding with your own "team," right or wrong, but it's no good when truth and reason are the goal.

MP,
Have you read Dean Koontz' latest book, THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR ? One of his characters has a "business":
"One of the businesses Billy had a piece of...was selling carbon offsets. He held binding commitments from three tribes in remote parts of Africa, which required them to plant huge numbers of trees and to continue living without running water, electricity and oil-powered vehicles. The environmental damage they DIDN'T do could then be sold to movie stars, rock musicians, and others who were committed to reducing pollution but who were required by the nature of their professions, to have humongous carbon footprints. Billy also sold carbon offsets to himself through an elaborate structure of LLP's, LLC's, and trusts that afforded him tremendous tax advantages. Best of all, he didn't have to share any of the carbon offset income with the African tribes because they didn't exist."
heh

OOps, meant to also add a comment on scientists/politics - it's all the same thing. Scientists get grants depending on their experimental outcomes - sometimes doctored up in an effort to sway the powers that be they deserve more money for further experimentation. It's not always easy to know who can be trusted and who can't.

>(Michael) But it cooled dramatically from the previous year, hence the year-long cooling.

>No, it didn't.

Yes, it did. See this chart.

And this one.

And this one.

And this one.

All four charts, produced by four different agencies that independently monitor global temperatures, show dramatic cooling from January '07 through January '08.

The amount of cooling is the largest in any one-year period recorded on these charts.

2007 can still qualify as the second warmest year on record, by some estimates, because of its mean temperature. But the recent trend is sharply down. All four temperature sets agree on this point.

Maybe the downward trend won't continue. Or maybe it will.

Either way, I doubt that humans have much to do with it. If we do, then what did we start doing differently in January of '07?

Another point: Hurricane Katrina was not a "freak storm." It was a typical hurricane, common in that region. It did so much damage because New Orleans is largely below sea level; when the levees failed, the city was inundated. Civil engineers had warned of this danger for decades, long before "global warming" was conceived of.

Blaming Katrina on "climate change" is just another instance of pointing to any bad weather anywhere in the world as evidence for the theory. But there will always be bad weather somewhere.

Finally, I don't think there is a "consensus" on global warming among climatologists. There is debate. Most experts agree that warming has occurred, but the amount of warming and the reason for it are disputed, with many pointing to fluctuations in solar output as the real culprit.

(If you wonder how there can be debate about the actual, measurable rise in temperatures, the answer is that taking the temperature of the planet is no easy task. If ocean temperatures are emphasized, you get one result. If urban temperatures are emphasized, you get a different, higher result, because of the urban heat island effect. Plus, there were far fewer monitoring stations in the past than today, so temperatures in the past must be estimated from incomplete data.)

On the other hand, there appears to be a political consensus that global warming is a winning issue with the voters. Even the Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, has embraced it. But this has more to do with winning votes than with crunching data.

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